The Referendum on whether Scotland should become an independent nation takes place on September 14th but could a vote in favour of doing so cause the country to lose millions of pounds in lottery grants?
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown certainly believes so and in a speech at the Borders Book festival in Melrose on Saturday June 14th, he claimed that Scotland had done disproportionately well from the lottery in the past. If the upcoming vote came out in favour of independence, that may become a thing of the past leaving many Scottish groups without important funding even if the country set up its own lottery.
Since the lottery began twenty years ago nearly £2.5bn has been received in funding by Scottish projects, including the new V&A centre in Dundee, the Falkirk Wheel, the Bannockburn visitors’ centre and the National Gallery in Edinburgh. Creative Scotland receives a third of its funding from lottery grants.
Mr Brown believes that although the country could easily set up its own lottery, it would be smaller and less-funded: “The bigger the pool and the bigger the stage, the bigger the number of players, the bigger the prizes and the bigger the grants to Scottish organisations.”
The Scottish people certainly love playing the lottery with 70% believed to play regularly but that only equates to 1.6 million households. That compares with the 17 million households playing across the UK.
A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: “A new Scottish state would have no automatic right to continue being part of the UK national lottery.” However a Scottish Government spokesman disagrees with this view and pledged to ensure that “Scotland continues to receive its fair share of funding from the National Lottery.” How the money distributed would become a decision made in Scotland “to ensure that the needs of local communities are met.”
Ironically the campaign in favour of Scottish independence has received a large amount of its funding from Colin and Chris Weir who won a £161 million EuroMillions jackpot three years ago.